Day eight: Nyborg Falster - Schwerin, 142km
I lucked out once again. I am sitting in a beer garden-style restaurant in Schwerin, Germany. The view onto a small lake is perfect and the birds happily tweet away (you know, the other kind of tweet).
It was a blessing in disguise that the youth hostel was full and I had to go to plan B - a room that cost only around eight euro more (granted, missing the breakfast, but still...) I am glad I didn't do the extra 30km or so to Ratzeburg. I still would have had the time, but this area is nice.
The day went according to plan:
In the morning I have an early start (7:15), as there were still 24km to cover to get to the ferry in Gedser, with a 9:00 am start (ferry goes every two hours).
I start out on national bike way number seven - you know, the one with the tremendous traffic. For the first 12km I see three other cyclists and three motor cyclists (yes, on the bike path). Smaller machines of course, but I am not sure if they are allowed there. They do the same in Copenhagen, though.
After those 12km I get routed away from the main road, which was nice - a small country side road that I would have expected and loved to take yesterday. It joins back up with the main road a few kilometers before Gedser, where I end up 45min early.
This time boarding is easier (apart from the 25min wait until the ticket counter opens). I get to go in first again - sometimes cyclists are treated better :)
I have breakfast on the ferry, as I am also trying to get rid of my last 50 Danish kroner. I ask how much the scrambled eggs (25 kr) and the croissants (12kr) are. Perfect I think - two croissants and scrambled eggs and I will have only one krone left. So I get the stuff and the dude types in: 17+11+11= 39. Darn, now I still have 11 kroner - I get a drink and this settles the problem for the most part.
Getting off the ferry is easy and I decide to follow the Berlin-Copenhagen bike path. Actually, since signage is weird right off the ferry I follow the main road first, until I hit the path a few km later.
The path isn't in great shape and through Rostock I have to deal with half-inch high curbs that are no fun with the luggage. I also come across an intersection where there is a light and a little bit later a light for cyclists only. Needless to say I don't make the second one. Why put up an extra light for bicyclists only? On the bright side, the signs are decent and I don't get lost. I also wanted to be out of Rostock by noon and I make it 20min early. Good stuff.
As I leave town I do hit some more bad roads and actually encounter cobble stones a few times. I am pondering the question why Jan Ullrich (who is from Rostock) did not become a classics specialist. Ideal training terrain. But once I hit the country side, some of the roads actually remind me of France and I take it that's how Ullrich must have gotten the idea of riding Le Tour.
The small roads are really nice and I frequently enjoy nice views, as I greet strangers who walk the various small villages along the way.
I follow the Berlin-Copenhagen routing (shouldn't it be called Copenhagen-Berlin when heading my direction?) until it turns east. I proceed west without major trouble, except for one town. After missing a turn two guys practically fight over wanting to help me. Fortunately their recommendations match and I ride on.
I hit the large lake and decide this is a good stop for the night. I still have to ride to Schwerin, along the lake to its southern tip. The warm, sunny day (the wind had stopped somewhere along the ferry ride over the Baltic Sea!) was perfect for riding. On the Danish side I still had an average of 24.5km/h, but when I turn west, I encounter a head wind and also a few small rises - not very long or steep, but with the luggage it certainly discourages any kind of speeding.
Ok, finished my dessert in the form of an Apfelstrudel. Perfect ending to a good and cheap meal (16 euro total - you can tell I am in East Germany still!) One more day and I will be back in Hamburg.